What is the difference between a Preschool and a Kindergarten?

By Madhurie Singh, April 27, 2013

My website development process has made me ask many questions. One of them is this.

What is the difference between a Preschool and a Kindergarten?

To most of you it may seem that both the words mean the same. Well actually when the need for preschool started, then there was a clear difference, but not now as it has become quite faint and means same as the kindergarten.

When there were not enough children and less competition, there were just the primary schools that provided education from class one onwards. So all kids got admission into the schools close to their homes when they were ready.

With time, the population increased, and so did the competition to enroll the children in class one. Schools took the opportunity to create new classes just for the sake of the growing needs of the busy parents. The Kindergarten classes started and soon younger children with busier parents found a solace and started enrolling their kids into them.

Kindergarten is a German word that mean Garden of Children. So the purpose was defined as to what to be done in these Kindergarten classes. The curriculum was easy and simple. Teach children colors, shapes, sizes, motor coordination, alphabets and numbers. No addition, no subtraction, no words and no sentences. Lots of fun games both indoor and in the garden.

Slowly, the competition to get the kids into better schools rose and children that did better in screening were given admission. Those who were younger or slower were given time and asked to come back the next year. This one year was meant to allow the child to grow naturally, practice at home and fill the gaps to be able to fit into the Kindergarten classes in the Primary Schools.

As the number of seats in LKg or SrKg were less as compared to the children who needed to attend them, Preschools were born to train the kids before they went to LKg. So they would teach the same basics in a much more fun way. These Preschools would nurture the kids to learn the languages, math and logic in an interesting way that kids could easily pick up.

As the population increased, the number of Preschools increased too.

In US, one year of compulsory pre Kindergarten is to be done at the age of 5-6yrs. Then the kids go to the “grade one”.

In UK, Kindergarten word does not exist. They call the Play School, Nursery and Preparatory instead of Kindergarten classes.

In India, we too started by following the Britishers as they introduced formal education to all public.  But slowly with the influence of the USA and Europe, Kindergarten became the words to be used by the Primary schools.

LKg and UKg or JKg and SrKg replaced, Nursery and Preparatory.

So ideally if you are confused by now let me explain it to you as per the age.

5.5-6.5 = Class 1

4.5-5.5 = SrKg, UKg, Preparatory

3.5-4.5 = JrKg, LKg, Nursery

2.5-3.5 =  Preschool, Playgroup II

1.5-2.5 = Playgroup I





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Interesting read.....it also tells me that these preschools are like increasing the child's burden. They do not get to enjoy childhood a little more just because their parents are busy to give them time. Secondly, it also tells me that a parent can choose whether to send the kid to preschool or directly send them to Kindergarden. :) What are you thoughts to this Mrs. Madhuri Singh, please share?

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